Our Board of Directors
Philip Smith – Executive Director
- Former Director of Planning and Development, City of Spencer
- Advocacy and leadership experience with Trout Unlimited, WV Rivers Coalition, Boy Scouts of America, and other social and environmental nonprofit boards
- Fifteen-year employee of West Virginia Department of Agriculture specializing in Integrated Pest Management
In my opinion, the first fifty years of an organization’s existence are the most fun. Each year, the Garden’s development and programming gets better. With botany playing a central role, we can curate plant collections that bring us joy as well as historical and scientific value. What’s more—community is so beautifully integrated with the natural history, well-being, and cultural experience programming. Our staff, volunteers, members, and visitors each play a daily role in making West Virginia a better place through their interaction with this organization.
Dave Barnett – President
Currently an Independent Sales Representative in the Outdoor Recreation Industry
Active with the Morgantown Tree Board
From Wilmington, Del, resident of West Virginia for 28 years
Worked in the Landscape Industry for 10 years.
WVU Forestry graduate, ISA Certified Arborist
Victoria Cather – Vice President
- Realtor – Old Colony Realtors
- Director of the West Virginia Association of Realtors
- Master Gardener
- WVBG Board member since 2011
- Friends of the Art Museum Committee Member
- WVU College of Creative Arts Visiting Board Member
- Native of Morgantown
I have always had a love of the outdoors and the treasures it has to offer. It has become my passion to help make a difference in the growth of the West Virginia Botanic Garden. I look forward to the WVBG becoming a tourism, education, and venue destination for our great state.
Linda Bagby – Secretary
- Professional Landscape Architect
- Member of Wesley United Methodist Church
- Member of the Morgantown Newcomers Club
- Resident of Morgantown since 1992
Jan Mitchell – Treasurer
- A native West Virginian
- Former grade school teacher in Harrison and Preston County
- Pharmacist at Monongalia Genera Hostpital for 31 years, retired in 2017
- An active life member of the Service League of Morgantown
- Certified Monongalia Master Gardener 20+ years
- Active with the Valley Hills Garden Club and served as the Landscape Design School chairperson for the West Virginia Garden Club
- Writer & photographer; former journalist
- Author, The Climb from Salt Lick: A Memoir of Appalachia, published by West Virginia University Press
- Monongalia County Special Olympics, Executive committee
- WVU Campus Club, Former president,
- Co-owner and board member of
communallyowned farm in Preston County, WV Residentof Morgantown for more than 20 years
I love the botanic garden because it offers different opportunities to different audiences. It is an educational experience for children and adults. It is a beautiful respite from our harried lives. Visitors can explore the intersection of the natural world and cultivated gardens. It is a glorious addition to the Morgantown community.
- Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications, WVU Extension
- WVU Reed College of Media alumna
- West Virginia native
- Resident of Morgantown since 2013
Exploring the West Virginia Botanic Garden is one of my favorite activities here in Morgantown. It’s the perfect place to escape for a bit and recharge in the peaceful surroundings. The educational resources available for all ages at the garden are also hard to beat — there’s truly something for everyone here.
- Director of Marketing & Communications, Mon Health System
- Leadership Monongalia Graduate
- Girls on the Run volunteer & coach
- Florida native, Resident of Morgantown since 2014
I love the West Virginia Botanic Garden because it is a perfect place for friends, family and community. It is a hidden gem in Morgantown and I look forward to helping others find out about our happy place.
- Assistant Dean of Student & Alumni Services at the WVU School of Nursing
- Native West Virginian and Monongalia Co. resident for 26 years
- U.S. Army veteran
The West Virginia Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to introduce kids to the outdoors. It is a classroom where they can actively participate in the beauty of nature. An absolute WV treasure!
- Educational and Workforce Training Legislative Advocate (Federal and State Levels)
- Former K-12 Bilingual/Special Educator, DC Public Schools and Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools
- Former College Professor specializing in Education and Educational Research for Students of Color and Students with Disabilities (21 years)
- Eagle Scout Mom and Former Board Member, Boy Scouts of America Troop 22, Oakland, MD
- Preston County resident for 15 years
The true treasure that is this garden lies not just in its natural beauty but in its safe, peaceful atmosphere. The peace envelops you and takes you in, whatever your needs, be that walking your dog and getting some exercise, walking in quiet contemplation in our labyrinth, spending quality time with your (grand) kids, or even having a wedding. The garden is a welcoming haven for everyone throughout all of our lives.
- Retired from WVU Foundation
- Former Associate Dean of the WVU College of Law and Associate VP of Institutional Advancement, WVU
- Board member of Oglebay Foundation, Pricketts Fort Foundation, Mylan Park Foundation, U Methodist Foundation of WV, Harless Center Foundation
- Active in Suncrest UMC
- Graduate of WV Wesleyan College
- West Virginia native
Friends told us of the West Virginia Botanic Garden and after our initial visit, we were committed to its future. The WVBG is a special place for visitors of all ages – a hidden jewel with unlimited potential. The Garden is deserving of our support, both financially and through the volunteering of our time. The WVBG helps make the Greater Morgantown Area a wonderful place to live.
Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of West Virginia
Former Assistant State Public Defender in Harrison County WV
2010 Graduate of WVU College of Law and 2007 Graduate of WVU Eberly College of Arts & Sciences
Mom of two wild little boys and two loved doggies
National Park and outdoor enthusiast!
I love the Botanic Garden so much because it has really brought my family together in ways I could never have imagined. We share so many walks here where we all actually talk. It gives us a way to connect to our community, nature, and importantly, each other. We love to attend all of the events available, both educational and social, where we can meet likeminded friends and enjoy the garden in a different way.
- Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Energy Land Management, WVU
- WVU Faculty Senator, 3-year member and past chair of Sustainability Committee
- Morgantown Resident Since 2011
- Retired Petroleum/Natural Gas Engineer
- Former professional affiliations with the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Gas Association, and the Southern Gas Association
- Member of WVBG Board since 2016; current chairman of Membership Committee
- Member of the Cheat River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
- Lifelong Resident of Monongalia County
In my retirement years, I am enjoying active involvement with the WVBG. It feels worthwhile and vital to contribute time and energy to helping the Garden grow and thrive in our community. It is just up the hill from my home for the past 40+ years, but I just discovered the Garden 10 years ago. What a gem it is!
- Executive Director, American Red Cross, Allegheny Highlands Chapter, 2017 to present
- Member of Organizational Leadership Council, West Virginia University, John Chambers College of Business & Economics
- Former coordinator for West Virginia Wilderness Coalition
- Graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and Marshall University
- Yoga instructor and amateur musician
It’s exciting to support the West Virginia Botanic Garden, because it’s a place that cultivates connection with nature, others and self. This type of space is particularly important to provide balance in a world where everyday life is often experienced through digital technologies.
- Retired wildlife biologist, and outdoor writer
- Board member, Rotary Club of Cheat Lake
- Resident of Cheat Lake since 1965
- Retired Registered Nurse/Health Care Administrator/Health Educator
- Former employment with the Monongalia County Board of Health and Board of Education; WVU Schools of Community Medicine and Nursing – Adjunct Assistant Professor
- Graduate of Carlow University (Pittsburgh) and West Virginia University
- Board member of the Service League of Morgantown
- WVBG Board member for 10 years, currently Chair of Grants Committee
- Resident of Morgantown since 1970
Patrick Biafore – West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association
- Vice President and COO of Biafore Landscape Development
- Certified Professional Horticulturalist with a specialization in herbaceous plants
- West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, Board Member
- West Virginia native
Zach Fowler – WVU Core Arboretum
- Director, West Virginia University Core Arboretum
- Clinical Assistant Professor, West Virginia University Department of Biology
- Board Member, Friends of the Cheat
- Past Board Member, Brooks Bird Club
- Lifelong resident of West Virginia, lived in Morgantown since 2005
Jenny Selin – City of Morgantown
- 15 year member of Morgantown City Council
- Current Mayor of Morgantown
- Academic degrees in Park Planning and Law
Frank Scafella, Jr.
- Retired – Morgantown City Council member, former Mayor
- Retired Professor of Landscape Architecture, WVU
- Retired Executive Director of the West Virginia Botanic Garden
Cheryl Carnegie – Executive Assistant
Phil Cole – Site Manager
Dana Larcenaire – Event Sales Manager
I loved exploring the West Virginia Botanic Garden as soon as I moved to Morgantown in 2011. It has been exciting to see the garden grow tremendously over the years. It is incredibly important to have a safe space in nature to hike, learn, adventure, and celebrate. Our community and visitors are very lucky to have the WV Botanic Garden to nurture our need to connect with nature. Aside from the physical and mental benefits the garden provides, it is also the perfect backdrop for special events!
Erin Smaldone – Education Director
Sarah Smith – Volunteer Coordinator
As a Morgantown native and long-time visitor of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, it’s very exciting to see the environmental stewardship, accessibility to nature, growth and the variety of programs that the Garden has brought to our local community. What a treasure it is to have this literally in our backyard! I am excited to see what the future holds for our local community, for the Garden staff and am eager to see our volunteers (the foundation of the Garden) grow as well. I am grateful to join them in these efforts.
Maria Tallman – Environmental Educator
As a wildlife and Fisheries student, I have a love for being outdoors and teaching others about nature. At the garden, I feel so welcomed and I have learned new things everyday! Being able to be in an environment where I can teach others, learn, and relax has been very beneficial to me and I look forward to continuing my experience and growing in the garden!